Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey students attend the National Final of the Goldsmiths' Community Awards

Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey students attend the National Final of the Goldsmiths' Community Awards

After impressing at the Regional Finals, a select group of dedicated students from Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey were invited to the National Finals of the Goldsmiths’ Company Community Engagement Awards held in the prestigious Goldsmiths’ Hall.

The Goldsmiths’ Company Community Engagement Awards were launched in 2019 and aim to celebrate the positive impact schools make through charitable and voluntary initiatives within their local communities. The official ceremony took place on Tuesday 23rd November and saw the six-person student team compete for the national title against a selection of schools from across the country, from Leeds to Worcester to Sheerness.

The student team, comprised of six students from year 7 to year 13, had been shortlisted for the prestigious awards in recognition of the incredible work they have done in the local community through the multi award-winning Dementia Café. The intergenerational Dementia Café was created by the students of Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey in April of 2014 and since then, students have engaged with the local community on a significant level, volunteering their time to put on themed café events for residents of local care homes, and members of Age UK from both Sheppey and Sittingbourne. Activities at the café events include singing, performances, and even pampering sessions from the academy’s beautician students, as well as a provision of refreshments including home-made sandwiches and cakes.

As well as hosting a café event 4 times every term, students have developed fascinating links with Peking University Institute of Mental Health and have since had a visit from 12 delegates to see the work the school are doing around Dementia. Students also educate other young people about the condition at both a local and national level and conduct regular fundraising events for local charities.

At the event, students were asked to give a brief presentation on the programme in front of a panel of five judges, including Judith Cobham-Lowe OBE, a Liveryman, and former Prime Warden (equivalent to Chair) of the Goldsmiths’ Company.

Paul Murray, Head of Communnity Hub at Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey, commented saying; "“Our students are proud of their school and want to talk about their community work.”

“They are a wonderful group of young people and I can’t express how proud I am of them tonight."

Whilst the students did not take home the top spot, they were praised by the judging panel for the significant impact that the Dementia Café as well as their other community projects, has had on the local community as well as on the students themselves, and awarded them with an official certificate in recognition of their efforts. The judges commented that the students had clearly benefitted from the learning and development opportunities provided during the programme.

Commenting on why the Goldsmiths’ Company had created the award, Judith said: “These activities are of vital importance to many people, but often go unrecognised. The Goldsmiths’ Company Community Engagement Award recognises the unsung heroes in schools up and down the country – young people who have given their time, energy and ideas to outstanding initiatives that support our local communities.”

The student-led Dementia Café and additional community work continues to be a focus point for Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey.

Daniel Marsh